Mixed marriages: Catholic / non-Catholic marriages in Australia

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Dr Ata interviewed one hundred Victorians who are in Catholic/other-Christian marriages. Dr Ata's overall finding is that such marriages suffer far less from cultural and religious exclusiveness that do marriages between people of different religions, and he notes that the ever-increasing acceptance of such marriages, even within the Christian churches, is another sign among many of the Australian tolerance for different expressions of faith. Nevertheless, Dr Ata has been able to indicate some categories within which challenges arise. Dealing with conflicts over within which denomination children will be raised was a key issue, especially when there was strong expectation form one or both denominations that the children would be raised within that denomination. Indeed the pervasiveness of the church and the level of its expectations on the individual within the marriage is shown to be a key factor that causes stress. There are many positive factors too; some of these being the increase in understanding of and appreciation for the denomination of the other, and the potential for children to grow up in a religious atmosphere relatively free of the domination of one church.
Other findings relate to gender roles, the potential for growth in understanding and/or conflict in the extended families of the marriage partner, and the potential for key rituals to be celebrated within both churches. This book introduces in-depth material on a topic about which we have heard little, that is, the challenges and rewards of marriages between a Catholic and a Christian of another denomination where both have a commitment to their own church.


School of Theology

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